February 7, 2019 / 11:24 AM / 13 days ago

Puppets on a string draw children's smiles in Gaza

A marionette puppet, made by Palestinian artist Mahdi Karera, is seen at his house balcony in Gaza City January 20, 2019. Picture taken January 20, 2019. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

GAZA (Reuters) - A Palestinian puppeteer is tugging at heartstrings in Gaza.

At a kindergarten, Mahdi Karera, who describes himself as Gaza’s first marionette-maker, put on a show about the importance of reading.

An opening song-and-dance number featuring a clown, a cook, a teacher, a boy and a girl, drew cheers and laughter from the young audience.

“There has never been a marionette theater in Gaza,” Karera, 39, told Reuters. “Puppets have a role: they entertain people - children and adults. They promote positive values and change negative ones.”

Karera, who said he taught himself how to make and operate marionettes, has created 30 puppets out of wood, foam, plastic and metal wire in a workshop on his home balcony.

“I am strongly attached to them, they are like my kids,” he said.

Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi; Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Alison Williams

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